Number of patients using online GP services nearly doubles, figures show

Approximately 14 million people have now signed up to use digital platforms and access GP services offered by the NHS in England.

[London, UK] The number of NHS patients using online GP services to book appointments, order repeat prescriptions and see test results has nearly doubled, recent NHS Digital figures show.

Approximately 14 million people have now signed up to use the digital platforms, accounting for a 42% increase, compared to the same time last year.

On average, one million appointments are being booked or cancelled and nearly 2.3 million prescriptions ordered online every month.

Despite the significant increase, figures indicate that only 24% of all NHS patients access digital GP services.  

Dr Masood Nazir, National Clinical Lead for the NHS England Patient Online programme, said encouraging patients to sign up and use these platforms could help ease pressure on the system and empower them to take control of their health and care.  

“We are seeing many examples of this particularly working well for patients with long term conditions who can use their GP record to become more knowledgeable and confident about their condition, treatment and care prior to attending an appointment with their doctor or nurse,” Dr Nazir explained.

Juliet Bauer, Chief Digital Officer for the NHS in England, said:

“We’re delighted to see an almost doubling in the numbers of people accessing digital services in GP practices since last year. We’ve worked hard to support practice staff to be able to offer these services to their patients.

“The work to improve GP engagement, patient awareness and the patient experience is resulting in more sign-ups and better use of these vital services. This is just one example of how we are increasing the use of technology in the NHS to empower people to take more control of their health, wellbeing and care.”

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